Oral Traditions and the Archaeological Record of a Wabanaki Maritime Society

Author(s): Brettan L. Deweese

Year: 2007


This thesis examines prehistoric watercraft documented in the region now inhabited by the Wabanaki, an indigenous maritime society living in New England and the Canadian Maritimes, from archaeological and oral traditions perspectives. Archaeological research has been slow to accept oral traditions as valid, independent sources of evidence. The paucity of prehistoric watercraft and associated tool kits in this study requires exploring Wabanaki prehistory through alternative sources. I gathered oral traditions from a St. Francis Abenaki elder, a Wabanaki oral historian and storyteller, and a traditional Wabanaki canoe artist to tie together historical and archaeological data using maritime socio-cultural relations in the form of oral traditions and histories. Watercraft remains have not been preserved in the archaeological record, requiring an alternative approach, defined within the parameters of this thesis as an oral traditions methodology, to study the maritime technological adaptations of the Wabanaki. This methodology may serve as a template for similar archaeological studies, historic and prehistoric, within societies that value the accurate transmission of oral traditions in the absence, as well as presence, of material remains. In particular, I aim to facilitate a better understanding of Wabanaki technology within the maritime environment of New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

Cite this Record

Oral Traditions and the Archaeological Record of a Wabanaki Maritime Society. Brettan L. Deweese. Masters Thesis. The Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology. 2007 ( tDAR id: 391833) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8QV3PPH

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -74.158; min lat: 41.377 ; max long: -50.559; max lat: 50.121 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Ormond Loomis; Michael Uzendoski

Project Director(s): Cheryl Ward

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